Finishing touches still due on new Barrington River Bridge


The Barrington River Bridge project is still not finished.

According to an official at the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, a contractor will complete the final few items of work at the bridge replacement project this month. The work is scheduled to be finished by the end of September.

While the bridge has been open to traffic for more than a year, some work has remained unfinished, including the removal of steel sheeting along the eastern approach and relocating the navigational lights for boats to the center span of the bridge.

Frank Corrao, the deputy chief engineer for the DOT, a Newport-based contractor was recently hired to complete the final few tasks of the construction project. He said HK&S Holdings Construction LLC will be paid $174,000 to address three main tasks:

n Repair some portions of the wall that runs along the western shore of the river near the Police Cove parking lot.

n Relocate navigational lights that are currently on the wrong parts of the bridge. The lights are used by boaters as they travel under the bridge.

n Remove some steel sheeting that is located just below the water line along the northeast edge of the bridge near a marina. The sheeting will be cut so it is flush along the river bottom.

“We’re in the process right now of reviewing shop drawings,” Mr. Corrao said, referring to plans offered by the contractor for repairing the sea wall. “We need to accept that work... The physical work is anticipated by the middle of the month. There will be no impact to the motorists or residents.”

The end of the Barrington River Bridge project has been a long time coming. The replacement of the span was first proposed by DOT in Jan. 1994. Early estimates showed the work to be completed in 1996 or 1997, but officials later pushed that completion date estimate back to 2001.

The DOT’s original bid for the work included a completion date of Sept. 2006 and a price tag of $10.4 million. Over the years, officials moved the date a number of times, eventually settling on May 2009. Meanwhile, the price rose to $15 million in 2006, and $22 million in 2007.

In an earlier report, a DOT official estimated the cost of the project somewhere between $22 and $23 million.

Mr. Corrao said the recent construction bid awarded to HK&S Holdings LLC will be covered as part of the highway funding program — 80 percent of the job is paid for with federal money, while 20 percent is state-funded.

“That bridge is a beautiful bridge. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback, about how it looks,” Mr. Corrao said.

Barrington Harbormaster Ray Sousa said he was pleased to hear that work will finally be completed at the bridge, especially the relocation of the navigational lights.

“I’ve been trying to get them to do that for three years,” he said.

“When it’s done it’s done ... but it looks like they’re warming up in the bullpen. We’ve been after them for years, and finally, they’re going to do it.”

The DOT has already started the planning process for another bridge project in town — officials are due to replace the White Church Bridge in the near future.

What’s left to do

Following are the three final work orders that stand in the way of the official completion of the Barrington River Bridge project:

- Repair portions of the sea wall near the Police Cove parking lot.

- Relocate navigational lights that are currently on the wrong parts of the bridge.

- Remove some steel sheeting that is located just below the water line along the northeast edge of the bridge near a marina.


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.